As we fight a global pandemic and watch the economy freefall, it is more important than ever that we take care of each other. For 27 years Leadership Portage County has worked to be catalyst for volunteerism and positive change. Now more than ever we are looking for community members to join us in building a strong problem solving network here in our county. We have the power and resources to take care of our friends and neighbors. We just need to pull together. LPC is currently taking applications for the class of 2021. If you or someone you know has a passion for making Portage County a better place to live, work and play; please visit our website and apply to join “the best class ever”!
LPC Class of 2021 Application

May/June 2020 Newsletter

We are very disappointed to have to cancel this year's LPC Conference - Mental Health in the Workplace due to Covid-19. Now, more than ever, we need to take care of each other. In honor of Mental Health Month, our friends at the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County are highlighting #Tools2Thrive - what individuals can do daily to prioritize their mental health, build resiliency in the face of trauma and obstacles, support those who are struggling, and work towards a path of recovery.

Tools such as recognizing and owning your feelings; finding the positive after loss; connecting with others; eliminating toxic influences; creating healthy routines; and supporting others - all as ways to boost the mental health and general wellness of you and your loved ones.

When it comes to your feelings, it can be easy to get caught up in your emotions as you’re feeling them. Most people don’t think about what emotions they are dealing with but taking the time to really identify what you’re feeling can help you to better cope with challenging situations. It’s ok to give yourself permission to feel. We also know that life can throw us curveballs - and at some point in our lives we will all experience loss. It may be the end of a relationship, being let go from a job, losing a home, or the death of a loved one. It is natural to go through a grieving process. By looking for opportunity in adversity or finding ways to remember the good things about who or what we’ve lost, we can help ourselves to recover mentally and emotionally.

It also is true that connections and the people around us can help our overall mental health – or hurt it. It’s important to make connections with other people that help enrich our lives and get us through tough times, but it’s equally important to recognize when certain people and situations in life can trigger us to feel bad or engage in destructive behaviors. Identifying the toxic influences in our lives and taking steps to create a new life without them can improve mental and physical health over time. And we know that work, paying bills, cleaning, getting enough sleep, and taking care of children are just some of the things we do each day - and it is easy to be overwhelmed. By creating routines, we can organize our days in such a way that taking care of tasks and ourselves becomes a pattern that makes it easier to get things done without having to think hard about them.
One of the easiest tools anyone can use is taking a mental health screen at It’s a quick, free, and private way for people to assess their mental health and recognize signs of mental health problems.

For each of us, the tools we use to keep us mentally healthy will be unique. But the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is possible. Finding what work for you may not be easy but can be achieved by gradually making small changes and building on those successes. By developing your own #Tools2Thrive, it is possible to find balance between work and play, the ups and downs of life, and physical health and mental health – and set yourself on the path to recovery.

Source: Mental Health America: more information at

2020 Census

LPC Alumni Fundraiser Benefitting Center of Hope

Joining LPC Class of 2021

Greetings and welcome to our latest newsletter. I hope that you are healthy and working to practice social distancing, but not isolation. If you are like me, staying home and doing nothing is really difficult. There is something in my DNA that makes me want to pitch in and help in some way. Now, more than ever, all of us need to do our part, so what can we do?

First, listen to scientists and doctors. These people have invested their lifetime in health and have the motive of keeping people healthy as their underlying bias. It is important to slow the spread until we can find a cure.
The second thing that you can do is to help pass on truth and stop false information from spreading. Please be critical in your consumption and distribution of information. Consider the source, then decide if it agrees with the information that scientists and doctors are telling us. If it does, share. If it doesn’t, at the least, don’t forward. If you know the person, please discreetly point them in the correct direction.

Third, if you are still working and receiving your normal pay, consider donating to one of the many non-profit organizations making a difference right now. One place to support Portage County is at Together We Stand. You can read more about this initiative here. To donate directly, please click here. This effort by Family and Community Services is helping to feed, clothe and house people here in Portage County. In addition, there are several feeding operations in the county. We are fortunate to partner with Delta Systems, Inc. who will be matching donations (up to $2,000) made to the Center of Hope by LPC Alumni through May 31st. We have also put together a list of other places that could use financial help. Click herefor the list.

Fourth, if you are healthy, not working and have a little time, volunteer. There are many people here in the county who are hungry and there are several opportunities to get out and physically help. Here is a list of in-person volunteer opportunities.

Fifth, reach out to five. We already know that before this pandemic hit, Portage County was dealing with very serious mental health issues in our population. Here is the 2019 Community Health Assessment:

In this document you will see many different statistics pointing to the mental health of our community. We were hoping to address this in our annual conference, but that might not be able to happen. One of the simplest things that all of us can do is reach out and let those around us know that we care and that we are there. So, let’s reach out to five. Each day take the time to reach out to five people. Check on your neighbors, text an old friend, send an email, make a phone call. It helps all of us to stay in touch.

Kurt E. Ruehr, Executive Director       

Director's Letter

Now More Than Ever

Five BIG Reasons Why You Should Fill Out Your Census Form.

Help Your Community Thrive. Does your neighborhood have a lot of traffic congestion, elderly people living alone or over crowded schools? Census numbers can help your community work out public improvement strategies. Non-profit organizations use census numbers to estimate the number of potential volunteers in communities across the nation.

Get Help in Times of Need. Many 911 emergency systems are based on maps developed for the last census. Census information helps health providers predict the spread of disease through communities with children or elderly people. When floods, tornadoes or earthquakes hit, the census tells rescuers how many people will need their help.When Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida in 1992, census information aided the rescue effort by providing estimates of the number of people in each block.

Make Government Work for You. It’s a good way to tell our leaders who we are and what we need. The numbers are used to help determine the distribution of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal and state funds. We’re talking hospitals, highways, stadiums and school lunch programs.Using census numbers to support their request for a new community center, senior citizens in one New England community successfully argued their case before county commissioners.

Reduce Risk for American Business. Because census numbers help industry reduce financial risk and locate potential markets, businesses are able to produce the products you want.

Help Yourself and Your Family. Individual records are held confidential for 72 years, but you can request a certificate from past censuses that can be used as proof to establish your age, residence or relationship, information that could help you qualify for a pension, establish citizenship or obtain an inheritance. In 2072, your great-grandchildren may want to use census information to research family history. Right now, your children may be using census information to do their homework.

LPC Alumni Association

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

​​​Time, Treasure and Talent

Welcome to our May/June edition of Time, Treasure and Talent - LPC’s Newsletter. This month, we look ways we can help during Covid-19. In order to make our newsletter better, we need your help! We would like to include any events or calls for volunteers, donations or board members that you may have in the upcoming month! If you'd like to be featured in our alumni spotlight, please let us know! Our goal with this newsletter is to further our mission to provide opportunities to build relationships and networks and to serve as a catalyst for volunteerism and positive change in Portage County.

Please forward your information to Kurt E. Ruehr at

In celebration of the Leadership Portage County Class of 2020, Delta Systems has pledged a $2,000 match to support Center of Hope. Let’s keep it the Center of Hope!

TO ALL LPC ALUMNI - Join us in meeting this fundraising challenge supporting those in our county who need it most. Covid-19 has created a tremendous need in our county. Every day, the Center of Hope serves over 200 meals and fills over 30 pantry orders. Let's help them continue their good work.

From Amina Hall, Marketing & Development Director, FC&S and LPC Class of 2019:
"One of the greatest rewards for us at Family & Community Services is to be able witness the impact we have on people and their lives. We constantly have families in need of food, clothing, shelter and counseling services; but often times, what we do goes beyond life’s basic needs and touches the hearts of those we serve. Recently with Covid-19, our numbers at Center of Hope have doubled. Our services are provided at no cost to those in need in our community, thanks in large part to the generosity of our donors. We are here to go forth and do good for our local community. Join together in supporting the increased demand and need of basic human needs such as food provided at the Center of Hope."

Click here to donate. In order to be counted toward the match, please designate Center of Hope and dedicate the donation to the LPC Alumni Match (see below). The match ends May 31, 2020, so make your donations NOW!

A very special thanks to Lissa and Tim Barry (LPC '20) of Delta Systems, Inc. for their very generous match!Type your paragraph here.

Want to extend and expand upon your LPC program experience? Have unlimited access to the LPC alumni network? Become an LPC Alumni member today! Learn more about the impact and perks of Membership by contacting Kurt E. Ruehr, Executive Director, at or 330-221-8472.
Why Become a Member?
*Access to the online directory of nearly 1,000 alumni.
*Invitations to many alumni events including:
    Habitat for Humanity Alumni Build Day in April
    Class of 2020 Graduation Day in May
​   Party on the Patio in August,
    Camp JAG Bus Tour in September,
    Jingle and Mingle in December,
    and Fireside Chats throughout the year
*Lead by example and help us invest in the future of Portage County.
For more information and the application click here:  LPC Alumni Association